Releasing Fear to Increase Your Visibility
People hold themselves back because they fear the unknown.
They are afraid to fail and worry that they make look bad in front of others. So they do nothing. Unfortunately, that keeps them right where they are and stuck with no idea how to move ahead and succeed.
When a client is in fear, I will ask them what types of things they are saying to themselves. Some common responses are:
- Will I be able to do this new role?
- Can I take on more responsibility and not fail?
- What if my manager realizes I don’t know enough?
These responses are fear talking to them and I want them to know that I can see more in them. I can see their potential is greater than they realize.
My role as a coach is to help them to move forward.
They need to know that someone believes in them when they don’t have that belief in themselves. I help them see possibilities so that they can accomplish this challenge and many more. It may be as simple as helping them look at the situation differently, asking them questions to look at other options or if they are open to suggestions, I will share some ideas with them. The point is to get them unstuck and get them out of hiding.
I want people to leverage their strengths, value themselves and be able to put themselves out there so others can finally see them. Everyone has unique gifts and it is important to show them! I have been able to have one conversation with someone and it changed how they saw themselves and gave them the ability to step out of their comfort zone. Sometimes you just need someone in your corner who believes in you.
Overcoming Fear of Taking Time Away
A common fear for many leaders is taking time away, but the truth is that everyone should be able to take a vacation without checking in.
I used to tell myself that I am going to disconnect from work and although the company would never tell me that I had to check in, I put that expectation on myself. I wanted to make sure everything was running smoothly. That was my own internal challenge that I was dealing with at that point in time. I knew that it wasn’t a good thing to do and I had to find a better way. What I learned is that the only way that you get to fully disconnect is to have good systems in place while you’re gone.
Create a plan of who will approve things in your absence, answer questions or attend meetings on your behalf. Share the plan with everyone, so they know that you are disconnecting and will not be reachable while you are out. They will need to work with whomever you have put in charge in your absence. This demonstrates that you have trust in your team and that you have things under control. It also gives your team visibility and an opportunity to step up to the plate to show what they can do. Put these systems in place, be clear that this is the process that people need to follow and they will do it. You can decide what constitutes an extreme emergency where they can call you if it is absolutely necessary, but that’s your decision to make.
You need to be able to step away from work and not have to worry about what’s happening. That’s the only way you get away from it and all the stress that goes with it.
Overcoming Fear of Managing Up
Another fear for many leaders is managing their bosses. It seems counterintuitive, but think of managing up as a way to help your boss look good and leverage their help when you need it.
If you’re not familiar with the term “managing up”, let me share a few examples with you:
- Sharing information with your boss so they are prepared if they are asked for an update from their boss or others in the organization.
- Give your boss a heads up on something that is going on (project issue, organizational change, team update) so they don’t get blindsided by others if they are asked about it.
- Provide things that they’re going to need and anticipate what else could be needed. (Build a report that they’re going to need or take the initiative to prepare something in a way that they didn’t expect.)
- Be a sounding board for them that they can trust and talk to about issues.
- Leverage their help when you have tried to address a situation and it isn’t working. It can be helpful to have your boss weigh in on the topic or share that their perspective is the same as yours to remove obstacles or disagreements with other departments.
If they trust you and know that you will tell them the truth, they will start to see you as a partner that can help them accomplish their goals as they help the company and the organization grow. They will see you as someone who is there to support them. This is what will help you be the person that they think of when there are new opportunities.
You should think of your boss as your client and what would you do for your client? You’d go above and beyond for them, right? Take these proactive actions and it will make a difference in how your boss sees you and talks about the value that you bring. Managing up is finding the ways that you can be a partner with your boss to help them succeed which in turn helps you succeed.
Overcoming Fear of a Big Decision
One of the things that can happen when you are considering a really big decision is that you feel very indecisive and fearful.
For example, if you are looking at a new job opportunity, it is a big decision because there are so many things that can be impacted. It could impact your family, your financial stability, and whether or not it’s going to be enough money for you. Is it the right career move, do you have to go to a new company or move out of state?
These types of decisions can be challenging to make on your own and at times can be a little overwhelming. One of the things that I have done in that situation is I leveraged what I call my advisory board of directors. This is a group of people that I’ve had throughout my life. Mentors, friends, people that I’ve worked with in the past that I know and trust. They know me and my strengths, my experience and what my priorities are.
They help me think things through. They give me perspective and their opinions. They share their experiences and how situations have played out one way or another. The important thing is that you get perspectives outside of your own. It doesn’t mean that you have to take them, but it allows you to really think about it.
In my example of considering a new role, the advisory group may talk about taking it and the concerns that there could be. Does it feel exciting or does it feel almost like there is a feeling of dread? What about the opposite choice of not taking it? What would it feel like to give up this opportunity? Are you okay with that decision or do you feel like you might miss out? The answers to those questions and how you feel give you an indication about the decision that you internally are trying to make and which one is the right choice for you.
Leaning on an advisory board of directors can help you make big decisions when you need some help.
If you don’t have your own group of people that can play that role for you, start looking around for people that you could invite to be on your board. You can ask for help when you need to make a big decision and leverage other perspectives to help you make the right one!
And if you need individualized support, then reach out to me! One conversation can make all the difference. Here is the link to set up a time with me for a 30-minute chat.
Susan M Barber, President of Susan M Barber Coaching & Consulting, LLC, works with individuals, teams, and organizations to build skills that leaders need to attain breakthrough results. Her passion for coaching and leadership development is driven by seeing the transformation of leaders as they reach far beyond their own ideas of success. She continues to drive custom programs for groups that want to make changes in their careers to become more powerful leaders.